Statement from Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock (D-5th):
(May 27, 2019) – Four years ago, in May of 2015, I gathered a group of concerned citizens and neighbors, who lived near the abandoned and decaying General Electric plant. The purpose of the meeting was to see if a group of citizens could be formed to promote reuse of the factory and gain support from the pubic and private sectors. Further, we hoped to put forward a revitalization plan to save the attractive architecture and to rejuninate an area of the city that had been in decline since the factory closed.
The General Electric Campus Coalition met several times over a period of a year and a half. During that time Greater Fort Wayne Inc stepped forward with support and encouragement. GFW was instrumental in seeing a positive plan for redevelopment come forward, and in finding developers who could manage such a project. Other economic development groups also endorsed Electric Works
After years of work, Electric Works received support from both the public and the private sectors. A bi partisan coalition of government leaders worked to forge a financial package that included support from city, county, state, and federal governments. This is an unprecedented show of unity for one of the largest economic development projects in the state. Stellar tenants such as Parkview Health, Fort Wayne Metals, Indiana Tech, and many others, offered to lease space.
It is not uncommon for large projects such as this to be delayed. We have seen this happen with Headwaters Park, Parkview Field, Skyline Plaza, and many other important downtown developments that have added economic vitality and jobs to our city.
We must stay the course with Electric Works. Thousands of concerned citizens, and a vast majority of citizens in the Fifth District, want to see this move forward. Public support is overwhelming, as the local news media has reported. Governmental entitles in Indiana have worked together as never before, and we must not let the cooperation and momentum cease.
As the Councilman for this area, I have a strong believe Electric Works will be a catalyst for revitalizing many neighborhoods surrounding the old GE campus. It will also help to revitalize the Broadway, Fairfield, Taylor, Calhoun, and Harrison Street corridors.
Let us work together to move Electric Works forward. I strongly support it. Together as a community, we have worked so hard to come to this point. Tenants are signing up and final financing continues. Construction can start this fall. An amazing accomplishment and beacon of hope can spring forward, as we enter the 2020s. Let’s keep going!